Schubert's Goethe Settings  book cover
1st Edition

Schubert's Goethe Settings

ISBN 9781138256569
Published November 29, 2016 by Routledge
544 Pages

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Book Description

The traditional approach to the study of Goethe and Schubert is to place them in opposition to one another, both in terms of their life experiences and in relation to the nineteenth-century Lied. In her introduction to this book, Lorraine Byrne examines the myths that have evolved around these artists and challenges the view that Goethe was unmusical and conservative in his musical tastes. She also considers Schubert's life in relation to his obvious affinity with the poet and links the composer's Goethe settings with the poet's perception of the Lied. Goethe judged the success of a setting by whether the meaning of the text had been realised in musical form. In his Goethe settings Schubert translates the poet's meaning into musical terms and his rendition attains the classical unity of words and music that Goethe sought. The core of this volume is the series of individual analyses of all of Schubert's solo, dramatic and multi-voice settings of Goethe texts. These explore in detail both the literary and the musical dimensions of each work, and Schubert's reading and interpretation of Goethe's writings. This is the first study in English to treat both artists with equal attention and insight. This, together with its encyclopaedic coverage of this important corpus of works, makes this volume an essential reference tool for all those who study Schubert and Goethe.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Perceptions of Goethe and Schubert: Goethe the musician?; Schubert, Goethe, and the development of the19th-century Lied; Schubert's Goethe Settings: The Sturm und Drang years; Goethe, Schubert and the Greeks; Lieder from the first Weimer decade; Songs of the classical years; Goethe and Schubert's volkstümliche Lieder; Goethe, Schubert and the ballad; Songs from Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre: Mignons' Lieder; Songs from Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre: The Harper's Lieder; Settings from Goethe's dramatic works; Goethe, Schubert and the sonnet; Settings from Goethe's West-östlicher Divan; Goethe, Schubert and the Singspiel; Goethe, Schubert and the choral tradition; Conclusion; Appendices; Bibliography; Discography; General index.

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Lorraine Byrne Bodley was awarded a PhD in 1999 by University College, Dublin. In 2001 she was awarded the Goethe Prize from the English Goethe Society, King's College London. She is now Lecturer in the Department of Music at the National University of Ireland Maynooth.


'In tackling one of the most widespread prejudices about Goethe - namely, his lack of musicality - Lorraine Byrne has succeeded both in correcting a common misunderstanding and in presenting a comparative reading which will engage a multidisciplinary readership.' R. H. Stephenson, William Jacks Professor of German Language and Literature, University of Glasgow, UK 'For a century and more, Goethe has often been harshly criticized by musicologists for his supposed lack of musical understanding and his failure to respond to Schubert's songs. In this valuable study, Lorraine Byrne dismantles the clichés and legends to reveal a poet who cared enormously about music and a composer whose elective affinities with Goethe ran deep. In doing so, she discusses Schubert's choices of Goethe's poetry, his repeated revisions and re-compositions of certain poems, the circle of friends who also venerated Goethe, the reasons for Goethe's lack of response to Schubert, and much more. The relationship between the literary giant and the musical one turns out to be far more complex-and more interesting--than some have supposed.' Professor Susan Youens, University of Notre Dame, USA '... [the] book presents a wealth of fascinating information about Goethe's poetic development, his understanding of word-music relationships, his interactions with composers, and the array of ideas and influences that informs his verse - a welcome contribution to lied studies... The immense breadth of knowledge that Byrne brings to bear on Goethe's texts enhances understanding of Schubert's settings. Musicologists, performers, and others drawn to Schubert's lieder will benefit from the author's literary expertise... Schubert's Goethe Settings represents a valuable addition to Schubert scholarship, especially for its wealth of information about Goethe's poetry... it will serve as a useful reference book for scholars and performers alike.' Notes